Written on the arrival of the fifty destroyers transferred from U.S.A., 1940
"These ships are not only very practical symbols of American sympathy, but their good condition has been a most agreeable surprise to the British naval officers who took charge of them."
"Daily Telegraph, 15 Oct. 1940."
SOME sailors aver, and not sailors alone,
That ships, when they're christened, on leaving the ways
Acquire a mysterious life of their own
Exemplified best by the part that it plays
In crises, as told me a short time ago
By H.M.S. —— (censored) who happens to know.
She said that while dozing away in the West
Some fifty destroyers were startled to feel
Those curious symptoms of happy unrest
That quicken a ship from her truck to her keel
When orders arrive, irrespective of man,
To waken for service as fast as she can!
That long before Congress or Parliament knew,
Or even diplomacy's channels were clear,
Deep calling to deep sent a code message through
On a wave-length that only initiates hear,
Which even the oldest tune in to receive—
At least that is what the destroyers believe;
And so when the censors unshackled the truth,
The fifty destroyers, who, laboured by day
As well as by night to recapture their youth,
Were not only ready but eager to weigh;
That something incredible really took place
Is amply confirmed by the facts of the case.
That even while Goering was spinning his webs,
Ere Goebbels consigned the flotilla to flames,
As trim and excited as so many debs
The fifty were bound for the Court of St. James,
Displaying the emblems that none can mistake
Their feathers—of steam, and the trains—in their wake.
Their well-belov'd home towns have vanished astern
To rise with the cities and hamlets ahead,
Increasing their speed as they presently learn
That seas do not sever but join them instead,
And each in her turn as she peers through the foam
Discovers with joy that there's one place like home!
For Churchill and Chelsea and Brighton and Clare
With Ripley and Reading and Lincoln—in short,
The mothers of pilgrims brought up over there
Are waiting with pride to convey them to Court,
As daughters of Freedom presenting their claim
To champion her cause in the family name!
Names of the above
|American name||British name|
|A. P. UPSHUR||CLARE|